wow. just wow. time went by too quickly. wow.
i looked over some of my old blogs. wow. old kirin was so brave. so passionate. what happened?
old kirin would be so sad and disappointed at the present kirin.
not disappointed because he didn’t achieve his goals.
…disappointed because he didn’t fight the good fight. and he just left go. he turned his back.
what a failure.
All fairy tale has a a similar storyline. In the beginning everybody is jolly and gay. Then something happens, an evil step-mother, a jealous friend, and in my story from my previous entry - a stupid cellphone, comes in and shatters the utopian world. As the story unfolds, the evil mother either get owned or turns from her evil ways, the jealous friend just settles for a less sexier girl, and in my case, cellphone get thrown into the pond, the criminal gets caught, begs for mercy, and is forgiven. And then everybody lives happily ever after….right?
Sadly, the story of the lost cellphone doesn’t end with a repented student. In a nutshell, this story ain’t no fairy tale.
To pick up from where I last left off from the previous entry, The evening of the event was capped off when we gathered together downstairs to publicly forgive him front of all the students and the staff. It was proceeded by a group prayer, tears, and a prodigal student that came back home. It was truly a beautiful sight. The next morning, I go downstairs to go check up on Brian. He still has an unease countenance of a criminal, but hey, he ain’t “shakin’ like it’s hot” no mo. So I went over to him and tried to converse with him. He gave a faint smile and nodded occasionally to tell me that he was listening. I asked him to join me to breakfast but he hardly ate as if he was still full from being guilty.
Lunch time came around, and so I decided to go downstairs to check on him again. I checked his bed and it was empty, and when I asked the students where he was, they told me, he left for home without telling anyone. I pitied him cause I Imagined how heavy his heart must’ve been. I knew, despite praying for him and declaring grace upon Brian, that there were still some students who were treating him with caution and some animosity. The students who slept next to him decided to move his bed further from Brian’s and put up a curtain to show his disapproval. So I understood why he left. I was indignant about how these students were passively crucifying him, but I understood them too. But I couldn’t help being sorrowful about the whole situation. I mean, c’mon! Just a stupid cellphone and c’mon! It’s suppose to be a feel good ending! But nope…Brian couldn’t forgive himself and the student couldn’t quite get over his sins either. So he walked away. I wish I can say this is the ending but the ending gets much worse.
Another teacher, who was away, while this whole story unfolded came back that night. He called Brian to see where he was, and to hear his side of the story , and guess what? Oh yea…the liar came back in full force. He started accusing the other students saying that they set him up. He said he was innocent and that they were trying to get rid of him from the beginning. Like I said before…horrible horrible liar.
At this point, I was just flabbergasted. So wait! All that crying and trembling. All the innocent face and repentance. All that was a show? All that because he was scared that we were gonna call the police and get arrested? So there was no hint of guilt at all? It was just grand scheme to make the sole foreigner to pity him so he can make an escape the next day? Shoot. Forget being a thief or pastor. Just become an actor! Cause he sure fooled me, and a whole load of people. I was overwhelmed by denial, confusion, feeling stupid for being fooled, angry, pity, and lastly acceptance.
I say acceptance because I came to the conclusion that maybe him leaving was the best thing that could’ve happened to him. We lost a brother and a fellow pastor but hey! at least he doesn’t have to fake it no more. He doesn’t have to lie no more about having a fake family and fake believing in a God. You know what, I don’t know his story and I don’t know why he joined the seminary. I don’t know why he decided to lie and what he’s gonna do now. But one thing I know for sure, he ain’t gonna fake Christianity no more.
So so so so many people in the american church are faking it. They don’t care about God. They don’t care about what Jesus did for them. They don’t even know what the gospel really mean. In the end, people are just scared of hell, so they think, “oh if I go to church and act like a Christian once a week, I can earn some brownie points from God and go to heaven.” so they just fake it at church, say the right things, dress a certain way, and go to the church meetings. It’s quite easy to fake Christianity. It’s easy to fake it to people. It’s easy to act like everything is alright and that you know of God, when in reality you have no idea what it means to follow Jesus and have a relationship with our Savior. How do I know this? Cause I did it for sooo many years. I did it as a high school kid. I did it as a theology student. I did it as a youth pastor. I was expert at faking it.
Just emerge yourself to the Christian culture, and you can fool anyone. The problem comes however, when you have to face God. You can fake it to me, yourself, your family, and even your pastor, but you can not fake it to God. You will stand before the judge at the end of your life and you will be judged, and you can not fake it. I left America to come to India for various reasons, but one of the main reasons was because of my fake religion. The religion that was irrelevant in my life. The religion that says proclaims that we believe in afterlife but invested like we’re gonna live on earth forever. The religion where we sing about being saved but live our lives like everyone else who’s going to hell. The lukewarm Christianity. The Christianity that is proclaimed loudly with words but that has no relations to our lives.
Jesus clearly says in revelation that the lukewarm and the fake Christians are gonna be spat out to hell. He says be hot or be cold. Brian made his decision to be cold. I think he’s in a better situation than most of American Christians who are lukewarm and lovin’ it. One of my favorite pastor Paul washer says, “Stop faking it. If you wanna go dance with the devil, then go dance all night with the devil! Just don’t do it while trying to hold onto Jesus’ hand”. I love what pastor Mark Driscoll says, “stop faking it! Don’t be a hypocrite! We don’t have any more room in our church for that! All the seats for the hypocrites are filled! We’re not lacking hypocrites! So stop faking it!”
Stop faking it folks. Cause you can fool me, but you ain’t fooling God. Judgement is coming whether you like it or not. Stay focused Kirin. You’re the one who needs to listen to this the most. Stop faking it.
I lost my cellphone…which didn’t really surprise me. I tend to be scatterbrained always leaving something behind and losing things easily. My usual self would casually shrugged off the lost with few curse words directed towards myself, but this time it was different. it wasn’t my phone. It was a phone that one of the teachers lent me before he went on a trip. So immediately I started freaking out, digging all over my room. Still missing. I went downstairs to ask the students If they saw the phone. They all shook their head. I desperately searched through my lackluster brain to recall my last memory of the phone. couple hours passed by. Still missing. I relented. I looked at all the possible places, I concluded thinking I must’ve have dropped it when I was outside.
One of the student came up with a sore thought. Maybe one of the students stole it! I thought, no way! These are students who are studying to become pastors! All pastors are saints…..right….? And even if they did…I don’t wanna think about it, ‘cause I’m gonna become paranoid and suspect everyone. I much rather just think I’m the irresponsible one who lost the phone.
Couple hours past by. Phone still missing. Then one of the students called me. They didn’t find the phone. But they found the criminal. Someone did steal it. He wasn’t even smart about it. It was one of the student, Brian. Another student saw Brian packing his stuff to go home and so he followed Brian and confronted him. He fumed at the student’s accusation and started to make a big scene. Apparently he was a bad thief and a bad liar. Brian couldn’t find a way out, so he threw the phone into the lake an ran away. Apparently a bad runner also.
He came back like a criminal with a doleful face. As soon as he saw me, he ran to me, got on his knees and just started crying, repenting of his transgressions. To tell you the truth. I didn’t feel any anger towards him at all, I just felt really sorry for him. Here he was, truly sorrowful of his mistakes, and to tell you the truth, I felt a little guilty because my irresponsibility lead to his temptation. He was making a big scene in front of all the students, just crying and apologizing like a mad man. However the others students were became indigent with him. How can we live and go to school with him if we can’t even trust him?! How do we know if he’s not gonna steal my phone next?! Let’s hear his story and judge him according to his sins!! They were ready to throw the stone while he was on the floor crying his eyeballs out. I couldn’t help but to think of the adulterous woman who were thrown in front of Jesus by the Pharisees to test Jesus.
So I calmed them down by saying that I wanted to talk to him privately. The guy who caught the criminal came with me to translate for me. “why did you steal it?” I asked. His sobering response shocked me. “I never had a cellphone before. So when I saw it laying on the bed. I couldn’t help myself”. The response just left me broken. I couldn’t help it but feel compassion for Brian. He got on his bruised knees, confessing, “I lied! I lied! Everything I told you was a lie!” You see, the day before this event took place, I had a conversation with Brian about his family and his background. He told me he was married with 2 beautiful children….it was all a lie. He faked all of it. This just left me speechless and so utterly broken at the same time. He started wailing and started shaking violently. He was having anxiety attacks because of all his guilt. I immediately got on my knees to embrace him, trying to reassure that everything was going to be okay and that I forgave him.
But he couldn’t stop shaking. So I started freaking out because I didn’t know what to do. It was almost as if he was demon possessed. So I started praying for him. I shyly murmured requesting Jesus to come to rescue. I kept praying and praying and to my surprise, his shaking subsided. His body became limp and so I helped him on to the bed. While he was laying, still twitching every now and then, I held his hand, praying for him and asking Jesus to take out whatever dross, transgressions, and unconfessed lies in his life. That he would wake up not a broken heart but a pure heart that Jesus can only produce.
There was one thought that lingered in my mind while this debacle occurred. It was just a stupid little cellphone. It wasn’t as valuable as a diamond or some sort of amazing gadget that only existed in america. It was just a stupid $50 dollar phone!! You were really gonna throw away everything because of this phone?! Your friends, your education, your career as a pastor, and your pride because of a cellphone?! That didn’t make sense to me. Your gonna throw everything away just for a piece of plastic? Really?! and then I thought…holy crap…this is like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus hoping to find salvation, but walked away because he concluded his little plastic was more important to eternity with his Creator and Savior. I know what you’re thinking. A little 50 dollar phone and young rulers fortune are not the same! But what if you compare that to eternity? Isn’t everything we try to hold on to so dearly in this world all rubbish If you compare it to eternity? I thought of all my fellow rich Americans. What are they stubbornly holding onto? Pride? Money? Career? Car? Sex? Security? Comfort? What are we holding onto so dearly that we’re gonna forsake eternity for? What could be more important than eternity with God? Right…?
Ask yourself. What are you holding onto? Is it really worth it? End of your life, is it really gonna matter?
“Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God. The disciples were greatly astonished when they heard this and said, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:24-26
“Start the day against the voices the ones that tell me that I’m wrong”
From the moment I got to India these voices never left me. You see, in America, people tell you what to do, what to be and how to think, but they never tell you straight up. They do it subtly.. through sex and creative advertistments. We are bombarded with hidden messages that tell us to comform to the newest trend so that you don’t stick out. Not in india. Oh no no no. They tell you In your face. Come here! Buy this! You want drugs? You want sex? Come and get it! Come to this hotel! Come ride my taxi! Come eat this curry! Buy this useless toy! become this to be happy! take this drug to be free!
I still remember the overwhelming sensation right when I got off the taxi. About half of dozen brownies came yelling at me to come check our their crib. As I proceeded, cab drivers and rigshaw drivers ran their bells to get my attention. Little boys who looked like they haven’t showered in ages grabbed my wrist to give them spare change. Mothers who borrow babies to earn compassion look on with hopeless eyes. Everybody wants something from me. No matter where I turn, somebody tells me where to go and what to be. It’s really no different from America, except Indians do it aggressively.
I passively shy away. I nervously say no. Interestingly enough, the voices fade away with time…not because they decided to go on a vacation or gave up controlling me…I started to ignore them. It was difficult for me to say no, but with time, I graduated with a NO degree from NO university.
Funny thing is, once you say no to something, it becomes easier to say no the next time around. There’s a book called the positive NO. he also graduated from the NO university ;) the core of his book is, when you are saying no, you are actually saying yes to something else. Smart man…
So now I say no. I ignore. I say no to people who tell me I’m not good enough. I say no to people who tell me to dress certain way. I say no to people who tell me I need to do this and that at age 25. More importantly, I say NO to people who tell me to believe in a Many gods and many truths and that everybody will go to heaven. I say NO to people who tell me to fake myself and become a religious phony. I say NO to what people tell me to become, and I say YES to who God wants me to be.
Sadly enough, the opposite is just as true. Once you say yes, the second yes is a giveaway. Soon enough you are no longer yourself but a phony. Living like a puppet with strings attached without any purpose or meaning.
I left America, cause I was tired of faking it. I was tired of saying yes to things that I didn’t believe. I was tired of saying yes out of peer pressure. I was tired of meaningless conversations with empty words. I don’t wanna fake it no mo. I am not of this world. I belong to God’s kingdom and i will be persecuted ‘cause of it. but at least I will that I won’t be faking it no more.
“Cuz everybody knows the hardest war to fight
Is a fight to be yourself in a world that wants to turn you into someone else”
Switchfoot - Against the Voices
Mayan believed that the world will end in 2014. This morning I was told that they were wrong. The world will end may of 2011!
One of the student came to me refuting the mayans and proclaimed that Jesus is coming in two months. I was immediately vexed by this ignorant fool thus becoming contentious. We immediately pulled out our bibles to substantiate our points. Our heated conversation invited many student who seemed more interested in listening to my repugnant english rather than the substance itself. I became the leader of the majority and talked down on this fool and his friend who talked of rubbish. We started to make sarcastic remarks and scoffed at him. “hey! Jesus is coming in two months!! Did you know that?!?” He became Noah and we were the evil idiots who rejected his invitations to come abroad his zoo. He walked away smudged in his face, self-righteousness but a hint of dejection. I hurtled insults to come back and finish what was started, but bunch of students pulled me back to relax and told me that he’s not worth the effort. The crowd went back to their mundane task and it became insipid morning once again.
I was left with a unsatisfied taste in my mouth. Mainly because we didn’t come any conclusion and it turned into a boxing match rather than the original intent of being didactic. And also, I had some sympathy for him because I knew how it felt to stand passionately for a cause and be laughed at.
After cooling my engine and thinking some more, I went over to him and asked, “We can disagree. You believe Christ is coming in two months or the doors of probation will closed, and I believe it’s impossible to know the time of the advent and that Jesus can come back anytime. Now tell me, your conclusion is that Jesus is coming in two months according to the bible?” He nodded. “If you believe that why are you here right now? It’s not 20 years or 2 years. It’s 2 months, that’s a very short time. Cause if what you’re saying is true, then you should be running around telling people about this. This is serious stuff. I mean, what are you waiting for? You don’t have much time. Are you and your other friend the only one who’s gonna be in heaven? Are you okay with that? Fine, let’s say Jesus is coming in two months, how does change your life? Cause it should look different”. He proceeded by saying things that seemed like mere excuses to be stagnant. “well, people have been rejecting me anyways, and plus it’s the work of the holy spirit to work in people’s life and quite honestly, I gotta get ready too! I must be pure and be free of sin, then I can go tell people.”
LAME! I thought. Whats the point of your belief if your not gonna do anything about it?? If Jesus is really coming back in two months, they’re life should look radically different. Maybe thats why we’re sitting around scoffing at you idiots!
Then I thought, wait…what about me? I believe that Jesus can come anytime……right…? Well…if I really do, that means Jesus can come tonight or tomorrow in my case. Well….. then…shouldn’t I be more urgent about the gospel than these two who believed in advent of Christ in 2 months? why am I just sitting around chilling, acting as if Jesus is gonna come back after I die? My life suddenly didn’t make too much sense either. I was calling them fools for not acting their belief but I realize, I didn’t differ from them. If anything, I’m worst than them….What a sobering thought.
Most Christians believe that Jesus is coming soon, and we’re living in the end times where Jesus can come back at any moment. Majority would agree to that, but very few really live like that. As for me, I’m living as if Jesus is gonna come only after I die. I think I need to take Jesus’ words more seriously and live it out.
“no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the father…therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come”. -Matthew 24:36,42
He’s a student here in the seminary. He’s one of the only ones I remember mainly because he has an American name. Every other indian student seem to have a name that my mind cannot retain. He’s probably the hardest working student I’ve seen here. I see students messing around and going to market and watching cricket but not stephen. He’s always studying.
During lunch, they had a little heated conversation. Stephen said something and he was rebuked by A teacher, “you are a Christian! Don’t say that!” Later on someone told me the reason for the debacle came about as the director lower the stipend, which was already very low. Stephen who has a wife, and two daughters was not very happy to hear about that.
Later that evening, I wanted a notebook and stephen happen to be there, so he started to make one for me. (apparently in India, If you need something, they make it rather than buy it. Weird huh? I know). He started to share his story as he was stitching my notebook with the needle and a string. How the director have been lowing the stipend every moth. How there were 25 students beginning of the school year but now there’s only 15 students left because they couldn’t afford to stay. He told me the difficulties of trying to support his family with so little. He had such a defeated face. He also told me about the pain his wife was having on her arms and that he was leaving this weekend to take her to the doctors.
He finished the notebook and Then invited me to come to his house over during school’s vacation. He then pointed to my iPod touch and he said what is this? i was explaining to him and he asked, how much is it?
and suddenly I became really embarrassed. Because it hit me that I was holding onto a device that cost more than his Yearly stipend put together. Here he was sharing about his struggle to go on because of money. He wanted to study so badly but he couldn’t because he doesn’t have money to support his family and here I was… waving my iPod touch like a toy. and for the first time in my life, I felt so embarrassed because of all my riches.
There’s a scene, in a movie called schindler’s list, where towards the end of the movie, the main character gets utterly broken. He looks at all the Jews that he saved and then looks at the stuff he held onto. he breaks down and start saying, wait this coat that i’m wearing could of saved two more people! Wait this car could of saved another 100 people! Why did i hold onto all this stuff when i could of saved people’s lives?! He breaks down and cries because of his selfish heart.
I believe many will be broken at the time of judgement, when Jesus asks, what have you done with what I have given you? And what have you done for the least of my brothers and sisters?
I’m glad I’m being broken now. Have mercy on me God, a sinner.
Mother Teresa’s grave.
“DO small things with GREAT love”
As I started volunteering, I quickly realized how useless I was. For one, I am neither a doctor or a nurse. The most I can do medically is, put a band-aid and say 기린손 약손~ ^_^ and number two, the mother’s main goal isn’t necessarily to heal them, but to love them. This idea is outright outrageous to Americans. Cause we live in society where we deem things/people worthless if it isn’t productive or progressive. So it bothers Americans to see people just dying or people getting worst. So I sit there. Not knowing what to do while they slowly die while feeling pretty useless.
We do very practical things here. No hero work. We clean dishes. We pass out food. We change their beds. We bring them snack/water. We shave their faces. We do very basic kirin’s first aid. We give them massages. Nothing crazy. No saving lives. No crazy drama here. Just ordinary every day life. Mama T use to say, “what we do here is very small. we do no big things. We’re just one drop in the ocean. We do small things with great love” and that is quite true. Literally, I am not doing much.
One of the things that came into my mind was the typical American mindset of being effective. What can i do to do more? How can I actually make a difference? How can i make myself more useful? So I thought of going into nursing to physical therapist to massage therapist. I kept keeping, hmm….maybe if I learn to do this or do that, I can actually feel useful. So as I’m working, I’m constantly thinking of different ways of making myself useful.
But one day, the phrase “small things with great love” really dawned on me. because i realize that wasn’t my focus. My focus was rather more of… I want to do big things with great effectiveness! And it made me realize….. wow…because I’ve been focusing so much on effectiveness and being useful that I haven’t been faithful to the small things. I haven’t showed love with the things THAT I CAN DO. U see…I realize I focused so much on what I couldn’t do, that I was forgetting that I could still show great love by the things I could do at the present time. like the way I interact with the patient and the way I can give my massages. I don’t have to be an expert. instead, I can do it with great love! My friend once said, “it’s funny because in the mother’s house, they don’t focus on healing them, so they die, but they die with love. In America, we’re so busy trying to save lives that we save them but we show no love while doing it.” So Indians die with love and Americans keep living without any love.
I think about my life in America. The friends around me. My family. My church members. My co- workers. I realized I have failed many times to be loving. I’ve alway tried so hard to be effective and useful in their lives that I realize, I’ve neglected to love them. I focus so much on what I can’t do instead of the small things I could do with great love. There was so much I could have done. Even if it was small or minor things. I could have done it with great love. Mama T use to say, u don’t need to come to Calcutta to serve the poor or to show love. Mini Calcutta is all around u. In ur family. In ur neighborhood. In ur church. Within ur friends. So show those people love. Do small things with great love.
i still have much to learn